Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana has a book deal, but that doesn't mean he's running for president.
"There's nothing I can say except 'not so,'" Daniels told The Associated Press on Monday. "The idea of writing a book came together well before anybody suggested to me that I was a candidate for anything. I can't keep people from leaping to that conclusion, but they'd be wrong."
Daniels, often mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for 2012, has signed with Sentinel, a conservative imprint of Penguin Group (USA). His greatest concern having long been fiscal policy, the book, by intention, is no more glamorous than its tentative title: "Keeping the Republic: Limited Government, Unlimited Citizens."
The book is scheduled to come out in September and is being billed by Sentinel as a reminder of "America's urgent need for limited but more effective government, fiscal discipline at all levels, increased liberty for individuals, and a restoration of our national greatness."
The book's financial terms were not disclosed. Daniels, who served as the first budget director under President George W. Bush, said he expected to donate "much of the net proceeds" to charity.
Many potential GOP contenders have released books, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Daniels has made notable appearances in Washington lately, including a well-received address to the Conservative Political Action Committee Conference and a featured speech at the annual Gridiron Club dinner. His literary representative, Washington attorney Robert Barnett, has also handled book deals for Palin, Bush, President Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton.
Daniels, who turns 62 next month, said he has not made up his mind about running, but Democrats have certainly noticed him.
He has supported restricting negotiating rights for teachers, and the national Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee aired a new ad Monday that attacks Daniels and fellow Republicans for wanting to "kill collective bargaining" and "decimate public schools."
Friends and colleagues have been suggesting for more than a year that he write a book, but the governor said he needed time to figure out what kind. He decided against a memoir because he hadn't "led that interesting a life." He also rejected the idea of writing about being governor of Indiana, believing that the federal debt and the size of the federal government were more important.
"This is ... a way of trying to contribute some constructive thought to what I consider a very grim situation," he said.
Daniels has a mixed record on budgets. First elected Indiana's governor in 2004, he made enough cuts to change a $600 million deficit to a $370 million surplus. He used cuts again to wipe out a deficit caused by the 2008 financial crisis and create another surplus. But during his 29-month tenure under Bush, a $236 billion annual surplus turned into a growing $400 billion deficit.
Daniels said the book would include anecdotes and examples from his time in Washington and in Indiana to "make a larger point." He said major changes are needed and that his book will advocate a bipartisan agreement to address such entitlement programs as Medicare and Social Security.
"The premise of the book, which maybe some don't accept, is that we're at a moment of real peril, not just to our economy, but to our freedom," he said.
Much of the book was written last fall and by Daniels himself.
"For those who don't like it, I won't be able to blame it on anybody else," he said.